It is destination India for a whole lot of international brands, and making that unbelievable leap is the increase in the number of brands that are exclusively for men. “The Indian market for men’s fashion has been growing at such a rapid speed that it would be silly to underestimate it,” points out Sonal Bhatia, the brand manager of Genesis Luxury.
“You will be surprised to see how particular Indian men have become about the brands that they sport. One could credit the increased levels of awareness to the fact that Indians are travelling a lot more today than we ever did. We are also so connected to the world that knowledge is available at the click of a button,” says Bhatia. So there is no question of fashion stores in India housing anything last season anymore.
“Travel does include shopping, of course, but there are a lot of people who prefer to be well-prepared for their travel. For instance, if one is attending a business meeting abroad, it leaves very little time for shopping after travelling half way across the world. It really makes more sense to be prepared and if an individual has the option of choosing from the best, right at home, then why not,” she questions.
“The various men’s brands available here do have a crossover in terms of clientele of course, but on a large scale — men know exactly which brand gives them the kind of fit,” says Bhatia.
“For instance,” she explains, “While Canali attracts men who hold rather senior positions in the business world, Etro caters to men who like to make a bold statement. And Paul Smith on the other hand caters to the younger crowd in terms of fabric, fit and colours.” However, the fact that there is something for everyone and for every occasion is what really matters.
Recent trends have revealed that the south Indian male is bold, at least in terms of the colours he opts for on his outfit. “We had picked up a couple of shirts and jackets in colours that you would not describe as somber. They were bold and quite crazy too, and were initially put up as window pieces. To our surprise, we sold quite a few of them. Men in this city are going bold like never before. You will see a lot of people sporting red shoes and funky, bright belts. In fact, in Bangalore, these brands end up selling more number of pink shirts and hardly any of them in blue. It shows that men are getting a lot more experimental with their dressing,” explains Bhatia.
Would there be colours that people here would not dare to touch? Bhatia says, “One colour that does not seem to do work in Bangalore is turquoise blue. T-shirts in World Cup colours did well, but not otherwise.”
One for the occasion
Another interesting observation is the fact that men in the city tend to buy formal outfits, not for the regular business meeting, but for an occasion — a wedding, or a brunch or even just a casual do.
“In Bangalore, it is more about making a fashion statement. It may not have to do with a specific brand as such, but it is about being well turned out. It is important for brands to bring in a collection that is city specific too. For instance, heavy sweaters would not work here. Instead, light jackets, made out of mixed fabrics like maybe wool and silk, are what have been quite a hit here. People here are not loud or brash with their dressing, instead, they are understated and yet classy,” says Bhatia.